Under the heading “A square that misses African symbols”, the Herald last Monday castigated Africa Unity Square for failing to reflect the country’s struggle against colonialism.
But it was far from accurate.
For instance this is what the Herald authors had to say about the occupation of the square.
“History has it that at around 10am on September 13 1980 (sic) members of the pioneer column tied the Union Jack at the end of a msasa pole and hoisted it in the centre of the park before offering a prayer and firing salutes from two field guns.”
This would have proved impossible as the real occupation date, September 13 1890, was 90 years earlier.
From here the account lurches on further downwards.
The Anglican cathedral is described as the “Angelical cathedral” which would have been amusing were it not so sloppy.
Prior to its present name of Africa Unity Square, it was known as Cecil Square , named after British prime minister Lord Salisbury whose family name was Cecil.
Writers may have been confused with Cecil John Rhodes who many people think it was named after. History has so many pitfalls and the Herald always falls straight into them.
Amid all this dross, there is a note of good sense from UZ’s Dr Joseph Kurebwa who says: “In terms of the design of Africa Unity Square it cannot be changed and it is not important to do so. Changing the name was enough and renaming it after African unity is a reflection of the importance of the AU in Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe is a former colony of Britain and as such there is a connection and a history that will always remain,” Kurebwa explained.
“It does not matter that the square remains modelled on the Union Jack. In fact that illustrates part of our colonial history as we are a former colony that will remain …”
At least Kurebwa doesn’t think like the Talibans who some years back spearheaded the demolition of Afghanistan’s statues while in the process blowing apart 2000 years of Buddhist history; erasing all traces of a rich pre-Islamic past.
It is often said that African politicians are delusional and live in a difficult world from the rest of us.
Evidence of this was everywhere last week when Zanu PF decided on a novel formula to stay alive politically. Zanu PF is currently seized with campaigns for 14 by-election seats that fell vacant after the main opposition MDC-T recalled its former MPs accusing them of crossing the floor to join the MDC Renewal team.
The by-elections have been scheduled for June 10.
“It was therefore resolved that we would rather suspend these members but let them hold their seats until the next election but they will not be allowed to take part in the 2018 poll.”
If Zanu had taken the route of expelling all legislators linked to the Mujuru faction, the axe would have fallen on several key officials, among them, Nicholas Goche, Amos Midzi, Tendai Savanhu, Munacho Mutezo and Christopher Chigumba.
Asked to explain what the suspensions meant, Zanu Pf spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said it means they are suspended from their positions and not the party but they will retain their seats and revert to being ordinary card carrying members.
As clear as mud.
Anyway what are all these senior party officials being purged guilty of? Supporting Mujuru?
MDC Renewal Team interim leader Sekai Holland resigned on Saturday from her party, raising more questions as to whether there was any need to form a splinter group from the MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
The trend of factions sprouting and purporting to be the real pacesetters of democracy to challenge Zanu PF’s 35 years of misrule is becoming nonsensical considering these groups keep on being rocked by leadership crises.
With Holland now leaving MDC-Renewal without delivering any tangible result except just appearing to be doing something on the political stage, it is critically important for these many opposition movements to realise they have failed to cultivate a new brand that has the wit to convince ordinary citizens to dump Zanu PF or the MDC-T in their favour.
Like all those who want political change are saying, these formations must join hands if they are to play any significant role in changing the dire political landscape in the country.
Unless of course they no longer want to change things but become part of the problem.
It’s not surprising though to find confusion plaguing MDC Renewal over leadership issues. Isn’t it fashionable that political parties in Zimbabwe now believe in infighting rather than determining the real reasons they were formed?
Don’t they claim they are there to serve the people, but without doing so, they start haggling over donor funds accruing into their pockets? It’s about fat pockets and not dislodging tyranny.
That’s why Zanu PF has been surviving all along despite losing elections since 2000 to the MDC.
Knowing quite well opposition officials are concerned about looting, just like their counterparts in the ruling party, Zanu PF will not relinquish power until they become serious on fulfilling the democratic mandate they claim to represent.
It’s a shame the opposition is now as chaotic and confused as Zanu PF.
How does somebody continue to hold office when suspended?
Then we had Elton Mangoma’s escapades. He wrote to Tsvangirai a while ago accusing him among other things of being a womaniser. This was bringing irreparable damage to the Renewal party’s brand he previously claimed.
“Mangoma thugs bash cheated hubby,” the Herald reported on Wednesday.
Other papers said Mangoma was beaten up.
Mangoma left the opposition MDC-T after he was assaulted by party youths for demanding that Tsvangirai resign. Now he is involved in violence over sexcapades which is pathetic. He has lost the moral high ground he once occupied.
Then there was an amusing intervention by Transport minister Obert Mpofu who said the party would adopt the idea of bullet trains. It will be interesting to see if one flies.
Mpofu thinks he has a solution to the country’s transport woes. He wants to see bullet trains speeding across the country as in Japan and China.
Wouldn’t it be better to have ordinary trains first? Ones that work! It’s like trying to buy a Lamborghini Veneno when you are driving a Tata Nano wreck.
African Union chair President Robert Mugabe has said the time has come for African countries to industrialise their economies and move away from the continued export of their goods?
We started our column this week by reference to African politicians who are delusional, such as Mpofu. How can Mugabe in all seriousness talk about industrialisation of their economies when he has single-handedly destroyed a thriving industrial economy we had in this country prior to 1990 (Esap)?
Finally Muckraker joins those congratulating Pikirayi Deketeke on his recent appointment as CEO Zimpapers. At least he has a media background and experience.
But we would be keen to know what happened to his predecessor, Justin Mutasa. On the face of it he doesn’t appear to have done anything wrong but just disappeared off the radar.
What is the story here?